by Tiffany Maleshefski
If there's anything that ABC's Dancing with the Stars has taught us, B- and C-list celebrities may never be cool again, but ballroom dancing, on the other hand, will be. Even when decked out in sequins and ostrich feathers, there's just something about the tango, cha-cha-cha, salsa, and swing that folks can't help but move to. After all, this is the dance form our grandparents and great-grandparents used to rock out on, back when it was just something you knew how to do—like the Kid-n-Play or the Electric Slide.
With dance on the brain, we sat down to chat with Jason Gilkison, choreographer and artistic director of Harley Medcalf's Burn the Floor, which opens tonight at the Post Street Theatre. See, Medcalf has done for ballroom what, um, Michael Flatley did for Irish leg kicking. But we mean that in the nicest way possible.
Gilkison and his 33-year dance partner, Peta Roby, worked their butts off to become legends. By age 23, the duo sashayed their way as the world's No.1 champions of ballroom dance. Now they celebrate a decade with Burn the Floor, the sexy and sumptuous show that's hardly, strictly ballroom.
Reading your bio, your parents sacrificed a lot for your dancing career. Do you remember how you felt about that? Was it just the natural course of things? Did you ever question it?
It's really funny because I grew up in my grandfather's dancing school. I remember watching my mom teach at the studio since I was the age of 4. I sort of never thought it was going to be something serious in my life. I think the big turning point for me was a world championship [the World Ballroom and Latin American Championships] came to [Perth,]Australia, which was never heard of in the 1980s.